We need to do more than paint our Instagram feeds black

I watched a Tik Tok video the other day (albeit, on Instagram, since I am too old for Tik Tok), where it was explained why we need to focus on ‘Black Lives Matters’ as opposed to ‘All Lives Matter’. The explanation went like this. Imagine you have five children, and one of them has injured themselves. Will you give your attention to the four uninjured children, or the child who needs medical attention? Of course you would choose the child who needs medical attention. And that is the same as the Black Lives Matters movement. For centuries, Black people have been oppressed, and it is time to focus the attention on this issue so that real change can happen. This doesn’t mean that all lives don’t matter, but we need to focus on this deadly issue at hand. 

The events of the past week have also made me realise that I haven’t given attention to the deaths of Indigenous Australians in custody. There has been at least 432 Aboriginal deaths in custody since 1991. This isn’t okay. We must do better. 

For all of my friends who filled my Instagram feed with black squares last night, I encourage you to make a donation to a charity that is helping the Black Lives Matter movement, and a charity that is helping Indigenous Australians. I have made a donation to Reclaim the Block, a movement that organizes Minneapolis community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety. I also made a donation to the ‘FreeHer’ campaign by Sisters Inside Inc, that frees Aboriginal women from imprisonment by paying their warrants so that women are not locked up for poverty.

Whilst awareness raising is fantastic, we also need to be supporting reputable organisations on the frontline, who are in it for the long-term. They need to pay their staff. They need to purchase resources. They need to overcome the funding constraints that COVID-19 has undoubtably left them with. Do your research and find charities that resonate with you. 

Never think your donation is too small. If we all thought that way, charities would miss out on millions a year. Because when we come together for a common good, we can make a huge impact.